The military's top brass plans to keep an eye on the Global TransPark. General Hugh Shelton is not making any promises, but leaves open the possibility of a partnership here. Military or not, Governor Hunt sees a prosperous future for the park.
"This is going to be the thing that's going to really open up the economy of eastern North Carolina and provide great jobs and opportunities for our people," Hunt says.
The state has spent $32 million on the project, with little return on its investment so far.
Construction crews are now extending the air strip at a cost of $17.5 million. New and better roads are going in. And work on a second business is underway.
Horace Liles believes the TransPark will help his convenience store nearby, but he expected the help to come more quickly.
"You would think so, because everybody said it would, but once you start thinking about it, well, environmental studies have to be done. It takes a long time for stuff to happen," Liles says.
Though the TransPark got its start in 1992, officials say the real beginning was jut a year and a half ago, in October 1998, when the Corps of Engineers granted permission to develop the area.
Once the runway and road work is complete, transpark leaders expect tenants to start rolling in.
State leaders predict the park will produce nearly 4,000 jobs by the year 2008.
Taxpayers will have contributed roughly $80 million by the time the TransPark is complete.